New Parent Q&A


My Child Is An Aquahawk…Now What?

(Answers to the questions new swimming parents may have)


My practice starts at 6:00, where should they be, when, and how?

Swimmers should arrive on deck 10-15 minutes early.  They should have a water bottle, goggles, towel and a suit for every practice.  Your child will be supervised when practice starts.  Some parents feel comfortable dropping their children at the door to the Aquatics Center and allowing them to walk to the deck area and get ready for practice (take off outdoor clothes and get goggles and water bottle out and ready).  Other parents (especially those who have young children) may feel more comfortable walking their children in and making sure they are ready for practice before they move to the observation area.

If I want to stay, where should I sit?

All parents should sit in the upstairs observation deck, above the practice.  This allows the swimmers to focus on their coaches without distraction.  It is easier on the swimmer when they know they can, and should, look to their coach for instruction, guidance, and support.

I feel lost, who can I talk to?

You can contact a board member or speak with an Aquahawk Ambassador. Don’t hesitate to call them with any questions you may have.  We were all new at one time.  You will want to avoid asking coaches questions during practice.  They have a planned workout for the swimmers and we want to make sure they can follow that plan and focus only on the swimmers.   If time permits, you can ask questions after practice.  Please call or email you coach for longer discussions.  This allows them to give you their full attention and plan ahead with information you may need.

What should my child be wearing?

Boys typically wear “jammers”, which are longer and fitted.  They can also wear the traditional speedo-style suit, if they feel more comfortable in that.  “Board Shorts” (what most boys wear for recreational swimming) will be difficult to dive and swim in and are not recommended.  Girls should have a one-piece suit.  We are a Speedo team, which means that any suit is fine for practice, but the Speedo brand should be worn when swimming at a meet.  Both boys and girls suits are available through our team affiliate "The Starting Block" and also at Francis Sporting Goods (Aquahawks receive a discount, be sure to mention your affiliation).  Goggles are a personal preference; this may be a trial and error process until they find the fit they like.  The coaches often recommend purchasing a goggle bungee cord; these are easy for the kids to adjust, inexpensive, and can replace any goggle straps.  Kids should have a backup pair of goggles; they always have the potential to break.  Swim apparel and equipment is also often available for purchase at meets.

I am getting emails about a swim meet, what happens at a meet and should my child be there?

Swim meets involve multiple swim clubs coming to a pool to compete in a variety of offered events.  Swimmers may be swimming Breast Stroke, Back Stroke, Freestyle, Butterfly or a Medley (which involves all four strokes).  The swimmers may be swimming a race of 25, 50, 100, 200, 400 meters or more.  Beginning swimmers typically swim 25 or 50 meter races in the strokes their coaches feel they can do successfully.  At this level, swimmers can be disqualified for improper execution of a stroke and the coaches will want to ensure the swimmer has the “bugs” worked out and will successfully complete the race.  Each race will have several “heats” and an Aquahawk Ambassador can help you to navigate a “heat sheet” (this is a brochure sold at each meet that lists all of the events and heats).  With some guidance, you will see that it is easy to find out which heat and lane your swimmer will be in. The heats often go quickly, so you will want to find out all events your child will be swimming in at the start of the meet.  Swimmers use a Sharpie to write down the events they will be swimming in on their arm.  They will list the event number, the heat number, and the lane they will be swimming in.  In between events, swimmers will go to an area designated for swimmers to rest and wait, this is the “Crash Area”.  Our swimmers will sit together as a team and parents are welcome to bring chairs and sit with their swimmers and the other families.  Swimmers can bring snacks and items to read or play while they wait for their event to be announced.  Swim meets can be at our home pool, LIAC (Lawrence Indoor Aquatic Center), or on the road.  Younger swimmers typically swim in the morning and older swimmers typically swim in the afternoon.  You will receive an email letting you know what time to report.  The kids will come about 30 minutes before the meet begins to warm up with the team.  Discovery and Bronze swimmers will need permission from their coach before they attend a meet.

All swimmers should report to their coach prior to their race for any last minute instruction & advice.  They must also go speak to their coach immediately following the race for feedback on what they did well and specific improvements that need to be made.

Things to bring to the meet:

2 Towels

2 Pairs Goggles (in case one breaks)

2 Swim Caps


Water and Gatorade/Powerade

Black sharpie (to write events/heats/lane on your swimmer’s arm)

Cash for heat sheet

Sweatshirt or something warm the swimmers can wear in between races.

Blanket or something to sit on in the crash area.

Parents – bring a chair if there is a crash area that includes parents, or blanket to sit on if there are just bleachers.  Snacks for yourself and something to read!


I noticed there are required “volunteer hours”.  What are these and how many should I have?

Volunteer hours allow our club to host swim meets (meets are our biggest form of revenue and benefit the club greatly).   You will receive an email when the signup sheets for volunteer hours are available.  There are a variety of jobs, some require training and others can be done with a verbal instruction at the meet.  Please feel free to ask an Aquahawk Ambassor or the volunteer coordinator any questions about what a job entails.  Meets are fun for parents and kids and volunteering allows you to learn all the processes it takes to make the event happen.  Volunteering will also allow you to meet other Aquahawk parents.  Your handbook spells out what volunteer hours are required, but additional hours help the club tremendously. 

How do I sign my child up for a meet?

This is done on the Team Unify website.  Buddy parents will be available before the next meet to walk you through this, if you have any questions. 

Can I pay with a credit card?

Yes you can, if you sign up for the auto pay option.  If you would prefer to pay monthly, you will need to send a check.